When we have valuable products, from technological devices to vehicles, we tend to look for ‘Authorised Service Providers’ when dealing with repairs and maintenance. If your wardrobe is valuable to you, a similar logic should apply.
It is no secret that if you want something to last, you should care for it properly. But when it comes to clothes, what does ‘caring for it properly’ mean? Do you only have to bring things to the drycleaner that say dryclean only? Should you be doing anything differently? Is it going to be a big hassle? And does it really make any difference in the long run?
If your clothes last longer, then you won’t turnover your wardrobe as fast. You will save money in the long run by avoiding new purchases regularly, and you will reduce your contribution to the unsustainability of the fashion industry. Just like we justify paying higher prices for well-made clothes due to their longevity, this longevity can also be achieved or improved through proper aftercare of the clothes.
Here are a few common issues, and how proper aftercare can avoid them:
What do I do if the care label says 'do not dryclean'?
Why can't I clean them myself?
You may have a garment that says DO NOT DRYCLEAN on the care label, so you think you cannot take it to the drycleaner. Then, after using your home washing machine and soap (as supposedly instructed), the colours fade or textures change, and the overall quality and life of the garment is reduced.
- ‘Drycleaners’ does not equal ‘Drycleaning Only’, we are textile experts!
- We are actually specialists in WETCLEANING and are nowadays doing more delicate wetcleaning then drycleaning.
- Wetcleaning does not always equate to ‘washing’, and at Regal we use advanced delicate wetcleaning technology with minimal agitation. Although the garment enters a machine, our specialist programmes rotate the drum for 10 seconds only per minute, with minimal water, and professional wetcleaning soaps, giving it the treatment of a ‘hand dip’ without all the inconvenience of hand washing at home. There are multiple types of products entering the drum, including conditioner, colour protectant, and fabric protectant.
- We also can clean by hand, extract smell only, and use many other techniques to clean garments of difficult care instructions. So don’t think ‘do not dryclean’ means you have to figure out how to clean it at home!
How do I avoid bleeding on a multi-coloured garment?
Sometimes (more often than you would think), multicoloured garments are not colour fast, and even if they say washable, they can bleed. How do you know if this is going to happen before it is too late?
- We can do colour testing on garments, by taking a bit of wetcleaning solution and a bit of drycleaning solution on a cloth and rubbing at a tiny patch on the inside of the garment or somewhere discreet. Then we can check if any of the dye transferred onto the white cloth and conclude whether it is colour fast and assess the risk of a bleed. This can help us decide whether to wetclean or dryclean the garment, as one cloth may cause colour transfer whilst the other does not. Taking your contrasting coloured garments to the specialists means you can do this assessment before it’s too late.
- However, if it is too late and you do have a garment that bleeds, we also have dye-run treatments that can potentially fix this by extracting loose dyes.
- Unfortunately, some types of garments can’t be restored, so it is best to properly test and clean it in the first place and avoid the risk!
How do I prevent iron damage or shine?
Ironing with the home iron and causing shine on suiting or damage/burns to fabrics.
- At Regal, we have highly trained pressers, using professional irons with Teflon shoes. These shoes mean it is impossible to ‘burn’ or have any damage cause by over-ironing. We could literally leave the Teflon covered iron sitting on top of a garment and it would remain protected.
- Using techniques such as pressing garments with a cloth, or inside out, ensure shine is avoided and fabrics remain protected.
- Many garments once pressed/ironed incorrectly, are impossible to reverse, so it is best to avoid at-home ironing on expensive or delicate items as irreversible damage can be caused.
What do the letters on a care label mean?
The drycleaning symbol on a care label is a circle, but often there are letters inside.
- A common mistake people make is taking their clothes to a drycleaner that doesn’t use the appropriate solution based on the care label recommendations. Many delicate garments have an ‘F’ in a circle symbol, this means dryclean in hydrocarbon based solutions only. Many mistake this as just meaning ‘dryclean only’ when in fact, there are different solutions in the drycleaning industry. A ‘P’ in a circle means dryclean in any solution, and an ‘F’ means dryclean in hydrocarbon only.
- Regal exclusively cleans with solution approved by the F symbol. This means we can dryclean anything without worry (F or P). Other alternatives, that aren’t covered by the F symbol, may be harsh on garments. Whilst these alternatives may provide powerful and quick stain removal, they also may leave a stronger smell, and the harshness can lead to a shortened lifespan of the garment overall.
How do I clean something with embellishments such as tassels or beads?
Even in the most delicate wetclean or dryclean, some items just have ‘risky’ components. The most beautiful pieces are often riddled with booby traps.
- At Regal, we know that delicate sustainable cleaning is more than just having the right machinery and products, it’s about having the right people and the right knowledge. Garments are individually handled and pre-inspected by our specialists, where many decisions and recommendations are made, rather than just being tossed in a machine.
- Garments with tassels get put aside so that the tassels can be wrapped safely in protective covers.
- For garments with embellishments and special buttons, we offer a service for unstitching the individual features before the clean and restitching them afterwards.
- Delicate garments are put in small net bags to protect them and any other garments from each other.
- By having some of the best specialists in the industry individually assessing each item, its features, and its risks, we can ensure proper precautions are taken and avoid unnecessary damage.
Is too much drycleaning bad for my clothes?
Often people think that drycleaning can actually shorten the lifespan of garments, by being harsh on them. Ironically, it is often the opposite! By avoiding professionally cleaning your clothes that ‘look clean’ because you think this may be unnecessarily harsh, you can leave invisible stains to set in and yellow overtime.
- Common ‘invisible’ stains could be sugary stains, perspiration, and perfume that are all not noticeable after wear, but they are still present when you put the garment away. All of these stains will often set and oxidize, appearing yellow over time in the wardrobe if not properly cared for after wear. Lingering cigarette smell on garments will also cause discolouration over time if not professionally cleaned, and improper cleaning can attract insects and moths in the wardrobe.
- The notion that you should avoid drycleaning after every wear is definitely a misconception, as caring for your clothes professionally and regularly will actually help rather than hurt the lifespan of your wardrobe in the long run!
So, having ‘dryclean only’ garments isn’t the only reason to visit the drycleaner. Taking your items to garment care specialists who can professionally and delicately wetclean and hand finish garments, whilst also understanding the risks of every garment, and who have the ability to protect, colour test, and properly press your items, will certainly improve the quality and longevity of your garments. High quality clothes need a high quality clean, high quality products and soaps, high quality machinery, and high-quality specialists. This results in less replacement and turnover of your garments, and overall greater sustainability within your very own wardrobe.